A brief list of Aussie musos who have found success with music grants, and used the awards to release exceptional albums, tour the world, and keep their musical careers afloat
For a performer who cut her teeth on youthful Britney Spears covers before graduating to Evanescence, the Blue Mountains troubadour has certainly come a long way to the indie/dream-pop performer of today. She’s played some of the world’s major festivals, been featured on BBC6, and dropped her album debut, Don’t Let the Kids Win, in October of 2016.
Though her $10,327 grant was certainly a boost to recording and touring, Jacklin remains one of the most down-to-earth musicians out there. It’s worth noting the unusual amount that the grant provided; the implication is, her application’s budget was likely a highly detailed affair, which is something all burgeoning musicians should take to heart.
The Queensland duo of Busby Marou have been hardworking stalwarts of the Aussie music scene for years now; of course, as almost every muso will tell you, perseverance alone won’t buy you studio time. Happily, back in 2009, The Breakthrough program gave the lads a welcome economic boost to record their self-titled debut, which in turn nabbed them an ARIA for “Blues & Roots Work of the Year”.
The Breakthrough program supports Australian Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander musicians, granting up to $25,000; an amazing boost for Indigenous performers, who can face greater difficulties than most in exposing their work to a wider audience.
All Our Exes Live in Texas
This is a slightly sneaky addition to this list, since the grant in question applies to something that is yet to see the actual light of day. But with news that the Sydney alt-folk juggernauts have recently scooped $15,000 to help fund their sophomore album from the PPCA and the Australian Council of the Arts, it’s great timing.
Their first album tour has taken them across Australia, to a pinwheeling US tour supporting Midnight Oil (I mean, they supported The Backstreet Boys here at home, so, that totally makes sense), and now the four ladies will be continuing their conquest by touring Europe. Whatever shape their second album takes, having this kind of grant bestowed will surely see them swell even further.
Speaking of the PPCA, another $15,000 Recording Artist Initiative grant went to Grammy-nominated rocker Barnett back in 2014. So far, she has but the one studio album down – “Sometimes I Sit and Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit” – but given the rapturous reception it received, anticipation for her follow-up is pretty damned feverish.
Of all the grants listed here, Noonan is clearly the heavy hitter. It’s no surprise; between George, her solo output, and her operatic endeavours, Noonan has earned all manner of stripes. With a successful $40,000 awarded to her just this year, she is another sneaky entry given the fruits of this particular labour have yet to be seen.
That said, with a $50,000 album grant back in 2014, it’s pretty clear that Noonan has this whole grant-thing down to a fine art.
So technically, KMH trumps Noonan with a whopping $80,000 unveiled back in 2015. However, there’s a distinction; Miller-Heidke’s award came in the form of an Australia Council Fellowship, which is spread over two years. That said, the goal remains the development of a creative work, so I feel like she scrapes in.
From the anthemic “Caught in the Crowd”, which has been taken up by countless school programs to address bullying, to her beautiful, harrowing work on the stage adaptation of John Marsden’s “The Rabbits”, her talent is, quite frankly, getting a little ridiculous.
We’re working with City of Sydney to tell stories of Sydney’s live music scene. For more information on the work City of Sydney does, head to www.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au